Conrad and Walter to be appointed South Africa red and white-ball head coaches

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Shukri Konrad and Rob Walter are expected to be unveiled as South Africa’s new coaches respectively. Conrad’s most recent position was in charge of the South Africa Under-19 team, while Walter will move from his role as head coach of Central Districts in New Zealand.
The pair were preferred over current interim coach Malibongwe Maketa, former West Indies director of cricket Richard Pybus and former national assistant coach Adi Birrell (who only applied for the red-ball job). Lance Klusener, the frontrunner for the white-ball role, on Monday withdrew his application to focus on his work in the T20 league.
The appointments, following the resignation of Mark Boucher last year, will see South Africa’s men’s teams operate under a split coaching set-up, under the supervision of CSA director of cricket, Enoch Nkwe. South Africa had made a similar attempt more than a decade earlier, when Russell Domingo, who was then Gary Kirsten’s assistant, was put in charge of the T20 team, with Kirsten remaining Test and ODI coach. Domingo replaced Kirsten as the all-formats coach six months later.

It is not yet known which format will be coached by Conrad and which by Walter, but whoever gets the white-ball role will start immediately. South Africa will play England in three matches of the World Cup Super League from January 27.

The Test coach will have a lighter workload at the international level as South Africa still retain hopes of reaching the final of the World Test Championship despite their two most recent series defeats in Australia and England, but currently only two Matches are scheduled – home to the West Indies in March – over the next 11 months. In the long gap between Tests, the Test coach would play the role of an observer in the first-class system.

Both Conrad and Walter have worked extensively in the South African domestic set-up. Conrad coached both the Lions and Cobras franchises (under South Africa’s previous domestic structure) and won four titles with both teams, including one first-class title. Since then, he has served as Uganda’s head coach, South Africa’s national academy coach and most recently as coach of the national under-19 team. South Africa finished seventh in the 2022 Under-19 World Cup, with Devald Brewis announcing himself, and Conrad coached them to victory in the CSA T20 Knockout Challenge in October. This will be his first assignment as the head coach of the full member national men’s team.

The same applies to Walter, who has remained involved in international cricket even though he was South Africa’s strength and conditioning coach between 2009 and 2013. His first role after getting into coaching was as head coach of the Titans franchise where he won three trophies in three seasons before moving to New Zealand. Walter coached the Otago Volts for five years and turned them from wooden spooners into a competitive side in 2016–17 the following season. In April 2021, he moved to Central Stags. Walter also has IPL experience with Pune Warriors and Delhi Daredevils.

The pair replace Boucher, who was appointed in December 2019 on a four-year deal. Boucher was due to stay on to lead South Africa to the 50-over World Cup later this year, but announced his resignation in August 2022 during South Africa’s tour of England. Their last series was the T20 World Cup in Australia, where South Africa missed out on the semi-finals, losing to the Netherlands. Boucher has since been announced as the head coach of the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians.

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